Learn from Distinguished Faculty

Not long after she began teaching online courses on social justice, community practice, and racial equity, Associate Professor Ann Curry-Stevens noticed something different about the students who took her classes.

"These are the best designed courses I've ever seen."

- Ann Curry-Stevens

No idle chitchat. No "Is this going to be on the test?" questions. Online learning, she says, tends to focus students' attention and dialog more than traditional classes.

"They don't speak off the cuff," says Curry-Stevens, who has been teaching college-level courses for 20 years. "Their thoughtfulness is of a really high caliber."

The same can be said about the top-notch faculty and curriculum of PSU's online Masters of Social Work Program. And Curry-Stevens is a prime example.

After working in the nonprofit sector for years on social justice issues, Curry-Stevens went on to get her Masters of Social Work and a Ph.D. in adult education at the University of Toronto. She came to Portland State in 2007 and became part of the team that has brought national recognition to PSU's School of Social Work—U.S News and World Report ranked it among the nation's top 50 in 2015.

Curry-Stevens, who helped design and start the online program, says it offers as much or more rigor and high-quality instruction as the on-campus program. Most courses were developed by PSU professors, including Curry-Stevens.

"We bring our experiences into our teaching so it comes to life in a different way than just reading texts," Curry-Stevens says. "These are the best designed courses I've ever seen."

They're also in growing demand. Take Curry-Stevens' course on Racial Disparities: Analysis and Action for Social Workers.

"Racial equity has incurred a huge amount of attention regionally in the last five years," she says. Her course gives students practical knowledge and skills on equity issues that they can take to whichever agency or program they work for once they've earned their degree.

While she understands that some students worry they won't get the same personal touch online as with in-person classes, Curry-Stevens says she strives to make a connection. Her passion for the material comes through regardless of the venue.

"They see it in my face," she says. "They hear it in my voice."